US sanctions and export controls imposed at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and aimed at crippling its economy are beginning to impact Russian operations on the battlefield.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told lawmakers in two congressional hearings this week that Russia uses dishwasher and refrigerator semiconductors for its military equipment.
“Our approach was to deny Russian technology, technology that would cripple its ability to continue a military operation. And that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Raimondi said Wednesday.
She said she heard anecdotes from the Prime Minister of Ukraine that some of the Russian equipment left behind contains semiconductors from kitchen appliances, as the defense industrial base struggles to produce more chips on its own. itself and faces export controls that limit its ability to import technology from other countries.
Export controls and sanctions have impacted other parts of the arms industry, according to Raimondi, who said two Russian tank factories had recently closed and many Russian automakers had laid off workers.
A senior defense official also told reporters earlier this week that sanctions against Russia were also beginning to affect Russia’s ability to replenish its ammunition.
“We know that – for which the sanctions are responsible – for making it more difficult for Mr. Putin to replenish these stockpiles, particularly with regard to some of the electronic components that go into precision-guided munitions,” the official said.
According to the Congressional Research Service, precision-guided munitions use GPS, laser guidance, or inertial navigation systems to focus on the intended target and minimize damage to other structures.
A low inventory of precision-guided munitions could explain why the Russians are increasingly relying on “dumb bombs”, especially in the city of Mariupol. Reputed to be “dumb” because they are not precisely guided, these bombs are less discriminating.
The Russians also used hypersonic weapons in the war in Ukraine, andcompared to the type of targets they are, it’s because they quickly run through their inventory of precision-guided munitions.
A senior defense official said this week that the Russians launched about 10 to 12 hypersonic weapons into Ukraine during the invasion.
But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley in a congressional hearing on Wednesday said the Russians’ way of using hypersonics hasn’t given them a huge advantage so far. on the battlefield.
“But other than the speed of the weapon in terms of effect on a given target, we don’t see any really significant or game-changing effects to date with the delivery of the small number of hypersonics that the Russians have used,” Milley said. .
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s name.